Reckless Driving

Lawyer for Reckless Driving Ticket in South Florida

While careless driving and reckless driving sound similar, a reckless driving offense carries steeper penalties that can affect you for years to come. The criminal offense of reckless driving is defined in Section 316.019, Florida Statutes. The charge involves a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property....” A conviction for reckless driving will result in a criminal record. It will also result in four (4) points on your driving record, which can lead to a dramatic increase of your insurance rates for years to come.

According to the Florida Standard Jury Instructions for Reckless Driving, the term “willful” is defined to mean “intentionally, knowingly and purposefully.” The term “wanton” is defined to mean a “conscious and intentional indifference to consequences and with knowledge that damage is likely to be done to persons or property.”

If no wreck or crash occurred, then the prosecutor typically has a difficult time proving the charges. Even when a wreck or crash occurs, reckless driving requires a showing of something more than careless driving.

Reckless Driving Attorney in Palm Beach County

If you are accused of reckless driving in Palm Beach County or Broward County, then call us at (561) 557-8686. The criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., "The Traffic Stop," represent clients on misdemeanor and felony reckless driving citations with confidence and determination. We are proud to take on tickets from across West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton, and other Florida cities.

Information on Reckless Driving Charges in Florida

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Culpability for Reckless Driving

The culpability required to support a reckless driving conviction is less than that required for culpable negligence but more than a mere failure to use ordinary care. D.E. v. State, 904 So. 2d 558 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 2005).

The prosecutor is required to prove that the driver should have reasonably foreseen that the same general type of harm might occur if he or she knowingly drives the vehicle under circumstances that would likely cause damage to person or property. Most jurisdictions interpret similar criminal statutes using the word “reckless” as requiring proof of willful or wanton conduct where the conduct “must be intentionally embarked upon by the actor with the realization that it probably will cause injury to another.” W.E.B. v. State, 553 So. 2d 323, 327 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989).451 So.2d at 503 (citing Palmer v. State, 451 So.2d 500, 503 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984)).

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Penalties for Reckless Driving

The penalties and punishments for reckless driving depend, in part, on the number of prior convictions.

  • For a first conviction, the statutory maximum term of imprisonment is 90 days, 6 months probation and/or a fine between $25 and $500; and
  • For a second or subsequent conviction, the statutory maximum term of imprisonment is not more than 6 months in jail, 12 months probation, and/or a fine between $50 and $1,000.

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"Wet Reckless"

In addition to any other penalties, Florida Statute Section 316.019(5) provides that if the court has reasonable cause to believe that the use of alcohol, chemical substances or controlled substances contributed to a violation of this section, then the court shall direct the person so convicted to complete a DUI program substance abuse education course and evaluation, as provided in Florida Statute s. 316.193(5) within a reasonable period of time specified by the court. The person must also successfully complete any recommended follow-up treatment.

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Reckless Driving with Property Damage

Florida Statute § 316.192(3)(c)(1), requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt of an additional element that the reckless driving caused damage to the property or person of another. Reckless driving with property damages is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to 12 months probation or 12 months in jail.

The following fines are required if you are convicted of reckless driving causing property damage to another vehicle:

  • For a first offense, the fine is $25 - $1,000;
  • For a second offense, the fine is between $50 to $1,000.

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Reckless Driving with Serious Bodily Injury

Florida Statute § 316.192(3)(c)(2) requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt of an additional element that the reckless driving caused serious bodily injury to another. Reckless driving causing serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

The term “serious bodily injury” is defined to mean an injury to another person, which consists of a physical condition that creates serious personal disfigurement, a substantial risk of death, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

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Finding a Reckless Driving Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you were arrested for reckless driving or were released at the scene with a notice to appear in court to answer the charges then contact a criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., "The Traffic Stop." Our criminal defense lawyers fight to protect our clients against exaggerated charges of reckless driving throughout Palm Beach County and Broward County including in the cities of West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and Belle Glade, Florida.

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